Over the next few months, Nissan will triple the number of big 4x4s it sells in the UK. There’s the Murano (due early next year) for the X5 crowd, the Pathfinder seven-seater (on sale in March) for the married-with-children XC90 set, and the revised Patrol for those who want an honest-to-goodness, old-school 4x4.
To keep the Patrol looking fresh alongside its two new stablemates, Nissan has given it a facelift. Every exterior panel bar the roof has changed, but it’s the chunky new grille, headlights and bumper you notice first. It might not be elegant, but it’s certainly imposing.Nissan has tried to give the cabin a more upmarket feel. The finish is certainly a notch up in quality compared with the old car, but the wood trim looks cheap.
Mechanical changes are more limited. The 3.0-litre diesel engine now puts out 158bhp (up from 156bhp) at 3600rpm, and a healthy 280lb ft of torque (up from 261lb ft) at 2000rpm. That’s a lot of pull, but this is a whole lot of car, weighing almost 2.5 tonnes; ask for swift, confident acceleration and even 280lb ft faces a losing battle – Nissan reckons the Patrol will take 14.8sec to get from 0-62mph.
On the road, the Patrol handles tidily, but there’s no disguising its bulk, and the suspension thumps and crashes over rough roads. It’s off-road where the Nissan is most at home. With its ladder-frame chassis, low-ratio transfer ’box and excellent approach and departure angles there’s not much that will stop the big Nissan in its tracks. The fact it will tow 3.5 tonnes also give the Patrol an advantage over more fashionable 4x4s.